Mario Villalobos

Some Photos of the Mountains

Montana has a way of soothing a turbulent soul with its majesty and beauty, and the detour I took today proved it. I drove down Ninepipe Road—my favorite spot at the moment—and snapped some shots, then I drove home. On the way, I talked to myself about how brief my detour took, and I wondered aloud how I could improve it.

Earlier in the day, as the sun rose behind the mountains, I looked at them and wondered what settings on my camera I would use to best capture the shot I wanted. I don’t normally think like this, about ƒ stops and shutter speeds, but my mind had quieted a bit from the noise of the irrelevant and thought creatively instead.

I’m conducting an experiment, one where I turn off my phone at the start of my workday and only turn it on at the end. I had purchased the cellular version of the newest Apple Watch last fall in preparation for an experiment like this, but I hadn’t got around to it until this week. My watch only notifies me when I get new text messages, phone calls, and email, leaving me alone the rest of the time. So far, I’m loving this.

I’m spending more of my time writing in my notebook and in the novel I’m reading. I’m reading Saul Bellow’s Herzog, and it’s a wildly funny yet somewhat challenging book to read, but without the distractions of my phone—from checking the news or my Micro.blog timeline—I’ve found myself more focused and invested in Saul Bellow’s words. They’re amazing, and I’m enjoying the book more because of it.

I’m always moving quickly, from one task to the next to the next, and I forget how much more fulfilling life can be when I slow down, when I stop and simply look at the mountains. I told myself in the car that I should’ve taken my time taking my photos, that I should’ve explored the reservoir more and simply breathed in its beauty. I say this a lot, but life is short. Why try to live it quickly, flitting here, flitting there, when, again, life can be more fulfilling when we simply take a detour and breathe in the majesty of the mountains.

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